Alyssa Monaghan has played a lot of games for St. Joe’s. There’s just one she’s missing. | Season preview
The senior from Drexel Hill is looking to end her career with an NCAA Tournament game.
OK, so Saint Joseph's senior guard Alyssa Monaghan has not started every basketball game since she landed on Hawk Hill from Bonner-Prendergast High School in 2015.
It just seems that way.
As a freshman in the 2015-16 season, Monaghan was the lone newcomer who played in all 29 games for the Hawks. She started 26 of them.
During her sophomore season, Monaghan started 29 of the 31 games she played in, and last season, she was a perfect 33-for-33 in starts.
In all, the resident of Drexel Hill has played in 93 games in St. Joe's crimson and started 88 of them. If all goes well during her senior season, Monaghan could end up playing at least 120 career games for the Hawks, with around 115 starts. Both those numbers would rank among the most in St. Joe's history.
"I know I've been here a long time, but I didn't know I had played that much," said Monaghan, who was named the co-recipient of 2017-18 Ellen Ryan most valuable player award. "Coming out of high school, I knew I had a good chance of playing a lot and maybe work hard toward starting.
"But really, I came to St. Joe's because I really liked the school. I liked being close to my home. So it really all just fit well for me."
More in this series: Eric Paschall's job is to help things stay the same at Villanova | La Salle's Jeryn Reese looks to regain scoring touch in senior season | Lamarr Kimble is back leaner and ready to lead St. Joe's | Eleah Parker, fresh off rookie-of-the-year season, is looking to lead Penn women's basketball | Pookie Powell, back for one more season, is looking to win at La Salle | Bailey Greenberg wants to help Drexel jump from the WNIT to the Big Dance | Shizz Alston wants to give Temple coach Fran Dunphy an NCAA bid for a retirement gift
Still, for as many games as she played in, there is one kind she wants to be in that would make her career on City Avenue complete: an NCAA Tournament game.
The Hawks last made the NCAA women's field in 2014, when they won the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament.
St. Joe's has played in the WNIT the last two seasons, but after reaching the A-10 championship game in 2018, Monaghan is hoping the Hawks can finally punch a ticket to the Big Dance.
"It would be really cool to be a senior and experience that," she said. "We have a lot of new players, so the dynamic will be different, but I think it will be in a good way."
Changes, however, might require Monaghan to shift her role from more of a play-maker to a scorer.
"Obviously, I'm going to have to be even more of a leader being a senior on a kind of new team," she said. "But we lost two of our main scorers, so I might have to be a little more assertive on offense."
Monaghan averaged 10.1 points and made 49 three-pointers last season. She is ninth on the Hawks' all-time list of three-pointers made with 154.
If she hits her average of 51, she would move to seventh. If a slightly more aggressive Monaghan makes 63 three-pointers, she would move into third all-time with 217. She also ranks fifth all-time in free-throw percentage (.832).
"In the past, I was always thinking pass first," she said. "This year, I might have to add a couple of more points a game.
"I think what will happen is that, at the beginning of the year, I might do a little more scoring because we have so many new people and it will take time for everyone to settle into their roles. But as the year goes on, we'll find out that this person can score in this situation or I can look for that person.
"It's really just about each player doing whatever they have to for us to keep improving. We'll be a new team, but I think we have the pieces to get it done and reach the NCAA Tournament."